Friday, January 01, 2016

2016 - Some Predictions.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. No idea how long that will be of course , so will just focus on next 366 days. Here's what I think will happen (influenced a smidgen by what I'd like to happen!).

1) It will be a good year for the Conservatives in Wales. We will increase our number of AMs. In Montgomeryshire, Russell George will be returned with a deserved 'thumping' majority. The Lib Dems will hang onto second place, edging out UKIP. Just. Nationally, Plaid will also do ok, and enter into a coalition deal of some sort with Labour. Pity. I'd like to see a non Labour coalition coming together to give them a feel for the opposition benches for the first time. But Leanne has been really childish about this, making it blindingly obvious she wants that deal with Labour. So it will be "Vote Plaid;Get Labour". Need an SNP scale revolution to produce different result with our 'Additional Member ' voting system. May happen I suppose.

2) I expect two changes in party leadership in Wales in 2016. Andrew RT will swagger on, cheerfully trampling all before him. Kirsty Williams will still lead her party of one (if she's on the list that is). But I predict Carwyn Jones will call it a day. Huw Irranca Davies is my hot favourite to take over. And foresee Leanne Wood stepping down, with Rhun ap Iorwerth defeating Adam Price in a bloodcurdling battle to take over - even if his Lordship will surely fancy his chances again.

3)Westminster politics will be dominated by the EU Referendum. I expect it to be in the summer, (prob June). I'd prefer 2017. One of the big beasts in the Conservative party will decide to join the Brexit campaign. No idea which! It looks very much to me that the UK and Wales will vote to stay in, but wouldn't bet my horse on it. I do think Wales and England will vote the same way. No intention of committing myself until nearer the vote. Let's get a feel for the options on the table. I'm a longstanding Eurosceptic, but withdrawing from the EU is a big deal. Whatever happens, I predict the whole bureaucratic monster will fall in on itself, blown apart by it's contradictions within 20 years - which is why I've never been flag-waving fan of a referendum at all. Don't really believe in them. 

4)The SNP will deliver another dominating result in Scotland, but Ruth Davidson will lead the Tories into a strong second. Labour/Lib Dems/UKIP will be nowhere. Difficult for me to understand. Whole 'independence' dream built on North Sea oil, the value of which has crashed. Independence would be an economic disaster. But maybe it's what the Scottish people want. My own ancestors would always put self respect and pride before being rich. I suppose I'm a bit like that myself.

5) The Labour Party will divide into two parties. Can't see how it can go on as it is. A bold prediction this. Labour has never shown itself as a party with the gonads needed for the deadly strike - more drift on hoping things will turn out ok. It's just a smell of inevitability about a split. 

6) The Wales Bill will pass into law, with a lot of us wandering why on earth the Govt bothered. Most people in Wales won't even smile as they chant "Not enough; Not enough". Still it will go through, including giving the landscape trashers in Cardiff Bay powers over energy. Still not certain I'm going to vote for it myself. 

7) Finally, finally, we will see the death of the Mid Wales Connection Project - just about the most horrendous attack on the landscapes of Wales since King Coal raped our fair country a century ago, a crime which has taken many decades to repair. This project involved National Grid, developers reaching out for the shed loads of customers money on offer, and misguided politicians in Cardiff and Westminster, working together as a 'dark force' to trash the wondrous landscapes of mid Wales. I predict it will not happen.

8) But fracking will. We will not know on what scale in 2016, but I predict we will have more idea of it's of viability this year. Never quite understood the uproar this has caused. Very few question the major role gas will have meeting our energy needs over next 20/30 yrs. it's the transition energy source. Far better we access it from below our feet than haul it halfway across the world from unstable regimes. I also predict the Swansea Bay Barrage will get the go ahead. Hope so. 

9) I predict that Daesh will be much diminished in 2016. Cannot see Middle East politics settling down much, but most parties now recognise the particular evil that is Daesh, and realise other battles will have to take second place to crushing it. Impossible to predict whether there might be terrorist attacks,  because we know it's a constant threat. Some things are not really predictable.

10) England will win the Six Nations. I like the look of their new coach. Not Gatland, but in same mould - and will get England running with the ball. Wales will give them a run for it though. Hope I'm wrong on this one. For 60 minutes in the World Cup, England had us stretched on the rack, but then blew it. Surely they can't do that again. Ireland not quite there this year and Scotland have flattered to deceive.
France and Italy both too far off the pace to threaten. I've enjoyed being wrong about England's chances before.

11) Arsenal will win the Premiership. Man City and Spurs in Champions Lg. Maybe Leicester holding off a late run from Chelsea for 4th place. Andy Murray will lose in the Wimbledon Final again if Djokovic is fit. If the brilliant Serbian is not fit, Andy wins.

12) Finally there will be Knighthoods awarded to David Beckham and Rod Stewart.

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